A pair of unfortunate conclusions to promising drives early in the second half proved to be the difference making plays on Friday night as Norris defeated the Nebraska City football team by the final score of 48-21.
Both teams scored on thier opening possessions of the game. Austin Schultz capped an 80-yard drive by the Titans with a 24-yard run and Norris added the PAT kick to lead 7-0 at the 9:11 mark of the first quarter.
Nebraska City struck back quickly as Bryce Levy found Tyler Levy on a 75-yard pass catch and run. Hector Gonzalez added the PAT kick and the game was tied with 7:42 left in the opening quarter.
Nebraska City appeared to have stopped Norris on its next offensive as stalwart lineman Jaydin Aldana made a tackle for loss that forced a fourth down. A fake punt by the Titans resulted in a first down, however, and Schultz found the end zone once again, this time with a 52-yard rush. A point after made it 14-7 in favor of the visitors.
A blocked punt gave Norris the short field late in the first quarter and a 21-yard scoring pass put the Titans ahead 21-7.
Bryce and the Pioneers responded quickly as the Nebraska City signal caller found Tyler Lechner on a 66-yard pass that eventually led to a short touchdown run by Bryce. The point after made it 21-14.
Schultz got a kick off return out to near midfield and capped a drive with a nine yard run and Norris led 28-14.
Nebraska City had chances to cut into that lead before half. A Pioneer drive was extended by a roughing the kicker penalty as the home team penetrated visitor territory. Norris ended the drive with a fumble recovery.
Later, after passes to Skyler Self and Lecher, the Pioneers got down to the red zone. The drive stalled and a field goal missed the mark.
Back-to-back Aldana sacks prevented Norris from getting a point-producing drive at the conclusion of the second quarter and the second half had a promising start.
Dylan Knoell rushed for 52 yards to set the Pioneers up in scoring position. A batted ball was intercepted by Norris. Tyler Levy saved the touchdown by racing to catch the Norris defender. But the Titans ended up with points as Schultz found the end zone with a 23-yard scoring run. That made the count 35-14 at 9:58 of the third frame.
The Pioneers went back to the offensive.
Knoell had a nice kick return to near midfield and Bryce found Tyler Levy with a 27-yard pass. The drive stalled and Nebraska City looked to add points with a field goal. Norris blocked the kick and went back the other way for a touchdown that made it 42-14.
Nebraska City turned the ball over on downs with its next possession and the Titans drove and scored on a 19-yard pass to lead 48-14.
The Pioneers did end the game on a good note though. Bryce Levy found Self with a 20-yard touchdown pass that capped a 75-yard scoring march. And a point after by Gonzalez made the final score 48-21.
Nebraska City will return to action for its first district game of the season, a portion of the slate that the Pioneers, and their first-year coach Dan Hempel, have been targetting since the beginning of the year. Nebraska City will travel to play at Platteview, 2-4, at 7 p.m. on Friday.